Monday, June 18, 2007

Radical Group Pulls In Sunnis As Lebanon's Muslims Polarize

by Ellen Knickmeyer from the Washington Post

In Tripoli, residents say they have watched the expansion of groups dedicated to the more strident forms of Sunnism, especially since Hezbollah's war with Israel last year. This growth includes politicking by leaders of the Salafi sect, a fundamentalist stream of Sunni Islam that traditionally rejects politics as an impious Western concept ... "There's a relationship between ourselves and Sheik Saad when it's needed," Shahal said. "The biggest Sunni political power is Hariri. The biggest Sunni religious power are the Salafis. So it's natural."

Why must America go it alone on prosecuting war crimes?

by Thomas P.M. Barnett from the Scripps Howard News Service

The Bush administration's stubborn stance, continued from the Clinton years, retards the development of global case law concerning the terrorists, warlords and dictators that America routinely targets in this long war against radical extremism. Not surprisingly, our go-it-alone strategy undercuts our moral authority around the world. I mean, if our own judicial system can't stomach much of this, how can we expect to win any hearts and minds abroad by mimicking the human-rights abuses of the very same authoritarian regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Egypt) targeted by our lawless enemies, the Salafi jihadists?

My brother the bomber

by Shiv Malik from Prospect

So while traditionalist mosques carry on recruiting imams from back home, keep their sermons in Urdu and other Asian languages and neglect to publish material to engage new members, the Wahhabis and the Islamists give their sermons in English and take their recruitment on to the streets of Pakistani or Bangladeshi ghettos such as Beeston Hill. They have also encouraged the schooling of British-born imams, have learned to use the internet and have generally come to understand what makes the second generation tick. The Wahhabis and Islamists win new members by contrasting their galvanising message of world Islamic justice with the inactivity and irrationality of the first-generation traditionalists. (Among those who turn to violence, such as Khan, their beliefs are often a mix of fundamentalism and Islamism.) And by arguing that the traditionalists—with their saint worship, mysticism and forced marriages—have been corrupted by weakness and Hinduism, they provide useful arguments to those Pakistani and Bangladeshi youths who want to cling on to Islam but throw off their parents' constraints.

Why the West must stay true to itself

by Will Hutton from The Observer

A golden, global thread links the militant jihadists in Britain, the Taliban-like fundamentalism of the Hamas militias who have just taken over in Gaza and the rise of Wahhabi schools everywhere. It is a complex if depressing thesis, but it is brilliantly driven home by an important article in this month's Prospect on Mohammad Sidique Khan ... Shiv Malik, who undertook months of research into the Sidique story for an aborted BBC drama documentary, explains that political jihadism occupies only one quarter of Sidique's taped message. The rest is about settling deeply personal scores that related to his identity and experience as a second generation immigrant.

Russian Rights Activists Decry Disappearances of Dagestan Youth

by Peter Fedynsky from Voice of America

Speaking at a joint news conference in Moscow Friday, the mothers of two apparent kidnap victims say they do not know who took their sons or why. However, they claim young people are being ransomed and the price depends on whether they are dead or alive ... Svetlana Isayeva, also said authorities have kidnapped young men under the pretext of being radicals, either rebels or Wahhabi Muslims ... Russian officials were not immediately available to comment on the allegations. What is certain is that young people are disappearing and dying in Dagestan and their mothers want to know why.